So many tales and conspiracy theories have “the most dangerous occult book.” It’s enough the late Sir Terry Pratchett parodied it with the “Necrotelenomicon” a book by Achmed the Mad (who preferred to be called Achmed I Just Get These Headaches). But how is such a book portrayed in fiction?
Inevitably it’s some rare and creaky tome, thick with horrific pages, and challenging or dangerous to read. It drives readers mad, it crawls with brain-twisting truths, it twists reality To read it is to feel something else is watching over your shoulder and it has its own plans.
However, what would a truly dangerous occult book be? Not some kind of Anti-Personnel Grimoire (a term The Necronomicon Files by John Wisdom Gonce II used delightfully). A book that is a threat to the world isn’t that much of a threat if it drives most readers mad. So what would such a book truly be like, a book that delivers real power and isn’t a trap?
Well first, it wouldn’t damn well drive you nuts. A Dangerous Occult Book – let us call it a DOB – would probably not make people insane by reading it or even being in one’s possession. Such things tend to be noticed, and such owners tend to have painfully short relations with stakes and kindling if they stay reasonably sane.
Secondly, A DOB would not be particularly hard to use. It may crackle with power, but if that power takes too much effort to use, it’s simply not worth the time. It would be streamlined, simple, clear, and give you useful abilities. If a DOB takes too long to use and is too hard you’re better off using a fist, a lawsuit, or just doing something else.
A DOB would allow you to have an effect and it wouldn’t necessarily be what’s expected. Do you need to summon demons – or just manipulate minds? Is it worth turning lead into gold when precognition can let you make money more subtly? Must you be able to throw obvious lightning, or would subtle curses be more you route. It’d would work, but it might not be obvious to our expectations.
A DOB might contain a lot of useful information that changes one sense of place in the universe. Simply and effectively, it would change you and empower you by helping you see yourself differently. It would keep you from being trapped by existing religions and traditions, freeing you to use that power in its pages.
Finally, a DOB would be easy to transmit, spreading power among those in the no. It might not be overly long, it would be clear, it could be copied. Replication would make it even more dangerous as it could be spread about, extra copies hidden, etc.
A truly Dangerous Occult Book wouldn’t be some hernia-producing grimoire. It would be a manual.
Of course, if we’re all looking for big thick grimoires filled with incomprehensible diagrams and fonts off of a heavy metal album? Then maybe we’d miss the simpler but more powerful books under our nose . . .
Or someone could be writing it right now.